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Austin-Bergstrom International Airport reports busiest travel day since pandemic started

Austin Public Health has issued guidelines for post-Thanksgiving travel.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin-Bergstrom International Airport officials said Sunday, Nov. 29, was the busiest travel day they've seen since the pandemic started. It projected 12,127 outbound passengers but, as of Monday, the final number of outbound passengers was 12,248, according to AUS.

If you are one of those fliers, Austin Public Health (APH) is asking you to follow a list of guidelines. 

  1. Get tested at least three to five days after gathering or traveling AND stay home for seven days after gathering or traveling.
  2. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full seven days.
  3. If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
  4. You can sign up for a free COVID-19 test through APH at austintexas.gov/covid19.
  5. If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 14 days after gathering or traveling.
  6. Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe complications or death from COVID-19 for 14 days after gathering or traveling, regardless of whether you get tested.

There were many warnings not to travel from public health officials, but many did to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. On Wednesday, the airport had 10,843 passengers. Before Sunday, Nov. 8 was the busiest travel day of the year at Austin's airport when 11,006 flyers were screened. 

The thought of flying Thanksgiving weekend made some people, like A.J. Bates, a little nervous. Bates said this past weekend was his first time flying throughout the pandemic.

"But I was happy to know that most airlines, they keep one seat in between you. So, that was pretty good. I noticed everybody had their mask on and they made the announcement every couple of minutes to remind people," said Bates. "That one-seat space in between you and the other person I think helps a lot, and it should almost be mandatory for flights."

Other flyers, like Anielle Lima, felt the same when it came to safety precautions this past weekend at the airport.

"I felt safe wearing the mask all the time, using the wipes and washing my hands," said Lima.

APH officials have emphasized their worry about what the next few weeks will bring for new COVID-19 cases, but they hope these guidelines can help lower infection rates.

The CDC said COVID-19 symptoms can start as early as two days and as long as 14 days after you are exposed. If you do test positive and you have symptoms, you are contagious for up to 10 days.

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